Rappler Newscast | March 21, 2014
Today on Rappler.
- Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles experiences pain during a court hearing and is rushed to the hospital.
- Senator Miriam Santiago wants people running for higher office to be at least college graduates.
- Malaysian authorities face an angry mob in Beijing... relatives of missing passengers of MH370.
STORY 1: DOCTORS SAY NO NEED TO CONFINE NAPOLES
Police brought alleged pork barrel queen Janet Napoles to a government hospital after she complained of abdominal pains during a hearing before a Makati court.
The trip to the hospital caught most of the parties in the case by surprise.
The prosecution team opposes Napoles' plea and her appearance, saying it was not necessary.
After evaluation and tests, she was brought back to detention in Fort Sto. Domingo in Laguna.
Ospital ng Makati medical director Perry Peralta describes her condition as "stable" and “nothing urgent.”
PERRY PERALTA, DIRECTOR, MAKATI HOSPITAL: Ang ating Ospital ng Makati, ang ginawa lang po natin to find out kung ano yung the abdominal pains ay related to any condition that is urgent, requiring confinement or intervention or surgery. In-examine po natin si Mrs Napoles ginawan natin ng mga laboratoryo tsaka ultrasound wala po kaming nakitang kailangang i-confine si Mrs Napoles. In effect dini-discharge po namin si Mrs Napoles.
(The Makati Hospital role was to determine if Mrs. Napoles’ abdominal pains is a condition that is urgent requiring confinement or intervention or surgery. We examined her and did laboratory tests including ultrasound. We see no reason to confine Mrs. Napoles. In effect we are discharging her.)
Earlier in court before the sidetrip to the hospital, Napoles appeared visibly thinner and at times would slump over a table.
Napoles is asking the Makati court to allow her to undergo surgery and be confined in St. Lukes in Taguig, one of the most advanced medical facilities in the country.
She says she has been suffering for a while now.
Makati RTC Judge Elmo Alameda asks, "Why does she want St Luke's? Because she can afford it?"
Napoles says she is worried about the conflicting results of two hospitals – the Southern Luzon Medical Center said she had a tumor in her ovaries, while the Camp Crame General Hospital said she has a myoma.
She explains her fear of substandard medical care, saying her mother died from medical malpractice.
JANET NAPOLES, ALLEGED PDAF SCAM MASTERMIND: Ang laki-laki po ng bukol ko dito ang sakit-sakit. Kung wala pong sakit hindi po ako makiki-usap. Sana po nauunawaan ninyo. Tao lang din po ako. Maawa po kayo sa akin, gusto ko lang po talaga sa St. Luke’s.
(I have a huge lump and it is very painful. If it wasn’t painful I wouldn’t plead. I hope you understand. I’m only human. Please have mercy, I really want to be checked at St. Luke’s.)
Alameda says the court recognizes the need for compassion in Napoles' case but adds they need to balance it with public interest.
He says "We are not sadist here, we are civilized people here."
STORY 2: SOCIAL MEDIA POST OF THE DAY
Netizens are mostly exasperated with Janet Lim Napoles’ requests to undergo treatment at St. Luke’s Medical Center.
Doy Vargas approves of her operation, but says “It shouldn’t be in St Luke's.
I might reconsider if she executes an affidavit that will incriminate everyone she had pork barrel transactions with.”
However, @melswhereabouts is more lenient, saying “As long as it is medically justified, allowing her to undergo surgery and confinement is a humane thing to do. And besides, prosecution and justice can only be served if she's alive.”
STORY 3: SC PROBE BODY SUMMONS 'MA'AM ARLENE'
A Supreme Court committee summons "Ma'am Arlene," the reported counterpart of Napoles in the judiciary.
The committee was created following allegations big-time fixers are involved in influence-peddling in the judiciary.
Supreme Court Administrator Midas Marquez reportedly spotted 3 "Ma'am Arlenes" operating at different levels.
The “Ma’am Arlene” summoned by the committee is Arlene Angeles Lerma.
Philippine Star columnist Jarius Bondoc says she specializes in fixing big corporate cases in Manila and other major cities.
"She throws birthday bashes for magistrates, gifts their spouses with signature brands, and bankrolls their family junkets to Hong Kong and Macau. All this, in exchange for decisions favoring her litigant-clients.”
The committee hopes to submit a preliminary report to the Court En Banc during the summer session.
The committee says it received testimony from 32 resource persons, including members of the judiciary, Supreme Court officials and employees and government officials.
It also received many documents, photographs, reports and tips from official and unofficial sources.
The committee is chaired by SC Associate Justice Marvic Leonen with retired SC Associate Justices Alicia Austria-Martinez and Romeo Callejo Sr.
STORY 4: SC TO PMA: EXPLAIN CUDIA'S DISMISSAL
The Supreme Court asks the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Military Academy or PMA to explain the suspended graduation of Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia.
Cudia was dismissed from the Academy when the Honor Committee found him guilty of lying about being late in class.
Cudia’s family says he was a candidate for salutatorian of PMA class Siklab-Diwa.
The SC order came 3 days after the PMA graduation rites.
The SC 3rd Division deferred action on Cudia's plea to graduate from the academy.
Cudia and his family tried to convince President Benigno Aquino III and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin to allow him to graduate this year, but failed.
Cudia's appeal before the President prompts the AFP leadership to order a review of the case and the PMA's honor system.
STORY 5: MIRIAM: DON'T LET IDIOTS RUN FOR PRESIDENT
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago says she opposes moves to change the Constitution but if lawmakers will insist she will push to amend the educational requirements for running for higher office.
She says she wants to stop “idiots” from getting elected.
MIRIAM SANTIAGO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Right now in our statute books, people who become policemen must be college graduates. There is no such provision for a presidential candidate. Any idiot can run for president and possibly poll a certain number of votes among his fellow idiots.”
Santiago says candidates for president, vice president, senator and representative should be at least college graduates.
MIRIAM SANTIAGO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Sino ang dapat ihalalal sa 2016? Anong klaseng leader ang kailangan. No correct answer. We should have a president who can turn out to be the best president if he knows how to adjust his leadership to the situation where we find ourselves. Nakita natin lahat ng senador at congressman puro gago tapos ‘pag sinumbong sila, galit sila. Situational leadership, dapat ang presidente puntahan sila isa-isa at hamunin ng suntukan. ‘Di makuha sa pakiusap e.
(Who should we vote for in 2016? We can see that all of the senators and congressmen are all stupid and when you tell on them, they get mad. We need situational leadership. The President should go to them and challenge them to a fistfight. You cannot negotiate with these people.)
Santiago, a constitutional law expert, also warns charter change cannot be limited to one topic like economic provisions.
She says it opens up the Constitution to other types of amendments.
STORY 6: ‘CALOY’ MAINTAINS STRENGTH, BRINGS RAINS TO VISAYAS AND MINDANAO
Tropical depression Caloy maintains it strength and continues to bring rains to the southern part of the Philippines.
The latest update of state weather bureau PAGASA says Caloy’s eye is over the northeastern part of Davao City and Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.
Caloy’s winds reach up to 45kph near the center.
It is moving west-northwest at 15 kilometers per hour, predicted to be west of Butuan City by Saturday and at 220 km northwest of Dipolog City by Sunday.
By Monday afternoon, it is expected to be at 100 km Northwest of Puerto Princesa City.
Signal #1 is up over the following provinces: Southern Leyte, Bohol, Siquijor, Southern Cebu, Southern part of Negros Occidental, Southern part of Negros Oriental…
Northern part of Davao Oriental, Northern part of Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Siargao,
Dinagat Islands, Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental and Camiguin.
PAGASA estimates moderate to heavy rainfall within 300 km diameter of Caloy.
Residents in low-lying and mountainous areas under the storm signals are warned of flashfloods and landslides.
STORY 7: FIRE IN MT BANAHAW: 50 HECTARES DESTROYED, 6 PILGRIMS MISSING
A fire on Mount Banahaw in Quezon province reduced 50 hectares of one of the mountain’s 3 peaks to ashes.
While the fire has died down, 6 pilgrims still remain missing.
Pia Ranada reports.
Dusty ashes, flaky cogon grass, and skeletal tree stumps are all that remain of the 50 hectares of forest.
A fire razed one of the peaks of Mount Banahaw that sits between Quezon and Laguna.
The blaze began Wednesday March 19 and only died out Thursday night.
But on the foothills of the legendary mountain, a mission is still underway to find 6 more pilgrims still on the slopes.
The going may be rough because rain has started to fall.
But that’s not all the team is worried about.
SALUD PANGAN, PROTECTED AREA SUPERINTENDENT: Dun sa anim na tatlong babae at tatlong lalaki, may kasama silang 73 years-old. Napaka lamig sa taas. Baka mamaya magkaroon ng hypothermia… 09:26 At tsaka kung kokonti lang yung dala nilang pagkain, yun isa pa, tsaka tubig.
(Among the 6 composed of 3 women and 3 men, they are with a 73-year-old. It’s very cold up there. They might get hypothermia. And they might have limited food and water.)
Five companions of the missing 6 are safe in the police station of Dolores, Quezon.
They did not want to be interviewed on camera but they told Rappler they were going up the mountain to set up an altar and say prayers.
The pilgrims belong to a spiritual group called Hiwaga ng Banahaw.
Armel Amparo, a member of another group explains why they’re drawn to the mountain.
ARMEL AMPARO, SAMAHAN NG TATLONG PERSONA SOLO DIOS: Ang aming samahan ay may pagkamakalikasan. Nagpapahalaga po tayo sa kalikasan sa pamamagitan ng paghahandog dalangin sa mga banal na lugar na alam natin nandirito yung mga alaala, mga gunita ng ating Panginoon.
(Our group is close to nature. We value nature by offering prayers in sacred places like this where we can find the memories of our Creator.)
Officials say the fire was likely man-made.
Search and rescue teams found a candle and cooking implements in a part of the mountain off-limits to climbers and pilgrims.
The 5 pilgrims were found outside the restricted zone.
SALUD PANGAN, PROTECTED AREA SUPERINTENDENT: Yung 6 na hinahanap pa namin na inise-search, malamang may violation na silang na-commit kasi umakyat sila sa restricted area.
(The 6 we are searching for, certainly they have a violation because they climbed in the restricted area.)
There are only 5 forest rangers in charge of watching over Banahaw’s 10,000 hectares.
It’s no wonder determined climbers are able to get through.
SALUD PANGAN, PROTECTED AREA SUPERINTENDENT: Kaunti lang talaga yung manpower namin…
Two forest rangers were assigned for Laguna side, 3 forest rangers for Quezon side. Total of 5 forest rangers, then yours truly, the PASU and assistant PASU.
(We have very limited manpower.)
Banahaw is close to visitors since 2004.
It’s popularity as a Holy Week pilgrimage site wreaked havoc on its ecosystem.
SALUD PANGAN, PROTECTED AREA SUPERINTENDENT: Ang tubig, source of life ay naapektuhan at nagkaroon ng positive coliform bacteria which is nanggaling po ito sa lahat ng dumi ng basurang nanggaling sa trekkers.
(Water, the source of life, was affected by the coliform bacteria which comes from the waste of trekkers.)
After the fire, the government is thinking of closing it for good.
It’s worrisome for the religious groups who live on the mountain’s foothills and practice their faith in the mountain’s bosom.
ARMEL AMPARO, SAMAHAN NG TATLONG PERSONA SOLO DIOS: Karaniwan diyan mga nakaputi, nagtitirik kami ng kandila tapos sama-sama kami nananalangin o nagdarasal sa pangunguna ng aming mga babaylan at doon sa mga pagdarasal na iyon sinisikap naming maging taimtim at connected sa kalikasan.
(Typically we are in white. We light candles and together offer prayers led by our priestess. In those prayers we establish a connection to nature.)
The heart-breaking destruction underscores the need for more effective protection of the country’s natural parks - places of pride, and for a few, a sacred place of worship.
Pia Ranada, Rappler, Manila.
STORY 8: AUSTRALIA PM DEFENDS REVEAL, ‘OWES FAMILIES’
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott defends a move to reveal satellite images taken Sunday suspected to be wreckage from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370.
He is under fire for jumping the gun, as the images were grainy and indistinct.
He says "We owe it to the families and the friends and the loved ones of the almost 240 people on Flight MH370 to do everything we can to try to resolve what is as yet an extraordinary riddle."
Abbott says the two objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean are a little over 2,300 kilometers southeast of Perth in western Australia.
He says it is "about the most inaccessible spot you could imagine on the face of the earth."
Searching will be a challenge, with the average depth at around 13,000 feet in that area.
It is also said to be storm season in the area.
The Australian Prime Minister says the images represent new and credible information, although still subject to confirmation.
Among the 239 passengers, 153 are Chinese nationals.
Their relatives condemn Malaysia's handling of the crisis, accusing government and airline officials of withholding information and not doing enough to find the plane.
On Friday, Malaysian authorities face an angry mob of relatives in Beijing after repeated, angry demands for information on search and rescue operations.
Relatives are contemplating hunger strikes and demonstrations in the coming days.
Speculation about the fate of the flight range from hijacking to pilot suicide.
STORY 9: THAI CONSTITUTIONAL COURT VOIDS FEBRUARY ELECTION
Thailand's Constitutional Court rules on Friday that a general election held February was invalid, further deepening the country’s political stalemate.
The elections have not been completed because of disruption by demonstrators.
The poll was called by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to ease the political crisis, with little success.
A court spokesman said the ruling was reached on the grounds that voting was not held for the entire country on the same day.
Opposition protesters blocked candidate registrations in 28 constituencies, and caused the closure of 10 percent of polling stations.
A spokesman for Yingluck’s party described the outcome as "regrettable" and said it "set a bad precedent".
Yingluck's government, now in a caretaker role following the incomplete election, faces legal challenges that could lead to her removal from office.
STORY 10: NO ATTACKS ON UKRAINE, RUSSIA ASSURES US
Russia promises the United States it will not attack eastern Ukraine.
In a phone call Thursday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu assures his US counterpart Chuck Hagel the troops along the border are only there to conduct exercises.
Russia’s promise to the US came as Ukraine warned it would respond with military action if Russian troops cross borders.
The US observed a growing number of troops along Ukraine's eastern border after Kremlin intervention in Crimea.
Hagel renewed US calls for Russia to de-escalate tensions and restore Ukraine's territorial integrity.
Despite the tensions, Hagel and Shoigu agree to keep up a dialogue.
On Thursday, US President Barack Obama announced fresh sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Russia responded by issuing its own list of sanctions against nine US officials.
Russia’s row with Ukraine is considered the worst East-West crisis since the end of the Cold War.
STORY 11: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 6, the United Nations or UN warns about a double crunch in demand for water and energy due to surging populations and economies in developing countries.
In a report published on the eve of World Water Day, the UN says it sees this crisis in the coming decades.
Global water demand is likely to rise by 55% by 2050.
The report says many areas in North Africa, the Middle East, and western South Asia will live in severe water stress.
At number 7, Turkey blocks Twitter after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to eradicate the social network.
Erdogan says "We will wipe out Twitter. I don't care what the international community says."
He says this as Twitter, as well as other social networks, highlight corruption allegations against his inner circle.
The EU commissioner for digital agenda tweets the block in Turkey "is groundless, pointless, cowardly."
For the full top 10 visit Rappler.com’s ‘the wRap.’
STORY 12: HUMANS CAN DETECT ONE TRILLION SMELLS: STUDY
US researchers say the human nose can distinguish at least one trillion different odors - millions more than previously estimated.
A previous estimate pegged the nose to be capable of detecting only 10,000 scents putting the sense of smell well below the capabilities of sight and hearing.
Researchers at the Rockefeller University's Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior says “analysis shows that the human capacity for discriminating smells is much larger than anyone anticipated.”
The sense of smell is closely linked to human behavior.
Researchers stressed studying it could shed light on how human brains process complex information.
Woman cooking image from Shutterstock
Newscast Production Staff
|EXECUTIVE PRODUCER / WRITER||Lilibeth Frondoso|
|ASSOCIATE PRODUCER / PUBLISHER||Rodneil Quiteles|
|HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER||Katerina Francisco|
|MASTER EDITOR / PLAYBACK||Exxon Ruebe|
|TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / CAMERAMAN||Charlie Salazar|
|Raffy de Guzman|
|3D GRAPHICS||Sten Bautista|